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Fat People Cause Global Warming, Higher Food Prices 1083

Posted by timothy
from the opening-an-extra-size-can-of-worms dept.
Stating the obvious: "Two scientists write that obese people are disproportionately responsible for high food prices and greenhouse gas emissions because they consume 18% more food energy due to their greater body mass -- and require increased quantities of fuel to transport themselves and the food they eat. 'Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food,' write the authors, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the evocatively named London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine."
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Fat People Cause Global Warming, Higher Food Prices

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  • by RM6f9 (825298) <rwmurker@yahoo.com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @05:56PM (#23448082) Homepage Journal
    Weighing more makes us harder for the aliens to suck out of our cars, the reserves mean we'll last longer in the coming famine years, and if any skinny little vegans give us any lip, all we gotta do is sit on 'em to quash the noise...
    Seriously, extreme obesity is a darwin rule in action, usually - nobody wants to breed with us, and heart disease/stroke usually kill us "early" - rather like gay marriage, if you don't like 'em, don't join 'em, otherwise, back off: It's hard enough living in a world that wasn't built for us without having some smug, self-righteous ass-hat making comments because, while normal, we don't fit average... only made the worse when it's people who want their particular outside-of-average needs respected who fail the tolerance test...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But when it comes to global warming then it isn't a case of "if you don't like 'em dont join 'em", it's a case of you're killing us all you fat bastards. At least partly. Stop acting like what you do doesn't affect anyone else. The entire point of the study is to disprove such bullshit.
      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#23449068) Journal
        As a smoker I'm really not surprised by this BS. First they took away our right to have a smoke in peace, followed by having us pay for tons of little pork barrel projects in every state, and now they are coming after the fat folks. Make no mistake,this BS will be just the start,and of course the answer wil be---drum roll---MORE TAXES!!! That's right, if you want a steak that has flavor or a donut get ready to pay for more pork barrel spending,fatty! Because the correct answer to all the problems as decreed by both the dems and the repubs is MORE TAXES!!!


        And BTW, WTH ever happened to personal responsibility? And don't give me that crap about hurting others. That would be true in some place where you had no choice but to go,but now the owner of the building can't even decide for himself if he wants to cater to smokers,WTF? And you can't tell me that even a dozen fattys or smokers is causing 1/10 the damage all these soccer moms are causing driving those huge SUVs that get squat to the gallon. If I want to have a cigarette or some fatty wants a donut,how about,oh,I don't know,leaving them the f*ck alone!


        It isn't like EVERYONE hasn't heard about heart disease and cancer by now,if they are over 18 and choose to smoke or eat,let them be adults and do it. Of course,then we might actually have to cut spending,which would make both parties choke on their earmarks. It is a shame that Ron Paul or a Barry Goldwater type conservative doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell in this country,because then we might actually be treated as adults instead of having Nanny government trying to treat us all like we were too stupid to wipe our own noses! And I apologize if I came off a little ranty,but this kind of crap just really p*sses me off. But that is my 02c,YMMV

        • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:27PM (#23449560)
          Make no mistake,this BS will be just the start,and of course the answer wil be---drum roll---

          A pound of flesh.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timmarhy (659436)
          I can eat my cheese burger in the same room as you and it won't have the slightest impact on you. the same can't be said for your smoking. Not everyone gets addicted to cheese burgers, but everyone who smokes ends up addicted. I can eat a cheese burger now and then and it does me no harm, where there's no such thing as a harmless smoke

          3 very good reasons it's being cracked down on.

          • by sleigher (961421) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @10:22PM (#23449876)
            I think his point about smoking was that a building owner cannot decide whether or not to cater to smokers. Why can't the business owner decide if they want to allow smoking and then if smoking bothers you don't go there. Instead it has to be banned and taxed. A business owner should be allowed to have a business that caters to smokers. For the record I do not smoke. I used to though.
            • by NIckGorton (974753) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @11:37PM (#23450214)

              Why can't the business owner decide if they want to allow smoking and then if smoking bothers you don't go there. Instead it has to be banned and taxed. A business owner should be allowed to have a business that caters to smokers.
              Because a business should be accessible to everyone, including people with asthma like me. If a smoker doesn't smoke at a restaurant, store or bar we can both still use that place. If he does, he eliminates me from being able to. Its like saying that a store owner should not be mandated to have wheelchair ramps because then businesses that cater to people in wheelchairs will 'spring up'. It doesn't work that way. In the time before smoking bans in restaurants and bars, it was unusual to see a restaurant or bar that was completely smoke free. Owners want the most customers possible, so they don't ban smoking knowing that non-smokers will often choose to suffer the bad smell to get what they otherwise want.

              Its also a worker safety issue. We don't allow employers to have other toxic substances wafting through workplaces, why should we allow that with tobacco smoke? Just because its customer generated?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by cayenne8 (626475)
                "Because a business should be accessible to everyone, including people with asthma like me. If a smoker doesn't smoke at a restaurant, store or bar we can both still use that place. If he does, he eliminates me from being able to...Its also a worker safety issue. We don't allow employers to have other toxic substances wafting through workplaces, why should we allow that with tobacco smoke? Just because its customer generated?"

                Well, no one is holding a gun to your head to make you patronize a place that al

    • by eln (21727) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:20PM (#23448270) Homepage
      I agree. Plus, when we run out of oil, we can burn them for heat, and they'll burn far longer than skinny people. Plus, when we have to resort to cannibalism, they'll taste better than their skinny and athletic counterparts, who will be tough and gamy. And, they will be far easier to hunt, as they will move slowly and tire quickly.

      In conclusion, we should not be trying to eliminate obesity. Rather, we should establish "fat farms" where we can increase their numbers for our future needs.
      • by davester666 (731373) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:48PM (#23448492) Journal
        "In conclusion, we should not be trying to eliminate obesity. Rather, we should establish "fat farms" where we can increase their numbers for our future needs."

        Welcome to America. What would you like to eat?
      • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:06PM (#23448638)
        unlikely, due to their shape skinny people stack better therefore we can farm them at a higher density and store them better. our vegan buddies will also tire faster and become easy pickings since they avoid high energy foods.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bishiraver (707931)
          Avoid high energy foods?

          Nuts and carbohydrates are much better for quick energy than meat. Meat/protein is good for long term muscle building, but in a pinch it will just slow you down.

          Of course, now they make vegan protein powders, so that doesn't even hold true. Try not being ignorant, eh? Just because it's not meat, doesn't mean it's not high energy.

          Disclaimer: I had a nice 12oz shell steak, rare, last night. It was delicious.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            they also lack the iron requirement which is why they all lock skinny,slickly and pale. but you just said it good sir "Meat/protein is good for long term muscle building" which basicly confirmed my point.

            vegan diets are NOT healthy, in addition to lacking iron they lack calcium which will weaken their bones and will mean us fatties can crush them even easier.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And, they will be far easier to hunt, as they will move slowly and tire quickly.

        Careful. Because of their larger appetites, they'll also get hungry enough to resort to cannibalism first. Watch your back.

    • by slarrg (931336) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:34PM (#23448380)
      I agree! It's those damn breeders and their children that really consume resources. ;)
    • by Sancho (17056) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:39PM (#23448424) Homepage

      Seriously, extreme obesity is a darwin rule in action, usually
      That's an interesting take on it, since we've basically evolved to eat when we can (when food is available) so that we can survive during leaner times.

      nobody wants to breed with us
      People tend to get obese later in life, but this might apply to a small number of people in prime breeding age.

      heart disease/stroke usually kill us "early"
      Oh, so you don't really understand Darwinism. Unless you get heart disease or have a stroke before you hit sexual maturity, this is irrelevant. For almost everyone--even the obese--health complications don't get extreme enough to kill you with a high statistical probability until you're well past your sexual prime, and getting there is all that Darwinism cares about.

      [everything else]
      Well, the point isn't that people are making smug comments. The point is that if you're eating more because you require more energy to carry an extra 50 or so pounds, then you're consuming more of a limited resource than everyone else. It's not like he's saying, "Man you fat people are ugly!"

      And full disclosure--I'm about 50 pounds overweight. I've been working on this for a number of reasons--health, comfort, and the ability to bike to work instead of having to drive my car (those fill ups at the gas tank are starting to hurt.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        > Oh, so you don't really understand Darwinism. Unless you get heart disease or have a stroke before you hit sexual maturity, this is irrelevant. No, I think you don't understand. What matters is not how many offspring there are, but whether they survive to sexual maturity. You might not have noticed this feature of homo sapiens but (1) parents rear kids (2) grandparents are involved in the rearing of their grandchildren, and this is true all the way across human culture. In other words, diseases of old
    • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:58PM (#23449020)
      The world *was* built for you, it's your culture of no exercise and bad diet that's to blame. Leave the United States and discover that almost everywhere else you go you will *never* see anybody as fat as they are in the United States, and what few fat people you find are more of the pleasantly plump variety, rather than the extremely obese.

      Solution? Home-cooking and exercise. Having lived in Germany for two years and Japan for six, I now find that when I go home I can see the drastic difference between the two, both in portions and quality. Not to mention that the diets and lifestyles of both countries will naturally cause you to lose weight, because they're simply healthier. I lost 20 pounds coming to Japan alone (and no, I actually *do* like the food here). ;) Something about having to commute almost two miles to work by bicycle every day, I suspect.

      When you cook at home, you know what's going into the food, and you're only going to cook for yourself. Make the effort to go out and ride a bicycle for thirty minutes every other day (no coasting!) and you'll see a definite change over, say, a month.

      Stop blaming everybody for discriminating against you and take control of your own life. Heaven forbid people should encourage you to improve your health, attractiveness, and lengthen your lifespan using exactly that body which god gave you, and without prescribing to some stupid standard of beauty. Do it for yourself and your family at the very least. No pills, just self-control and common sense. Even if your best still comes in at plump, good for you.
      • by egburr (141740) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @08:52PM (#23449372) Homepage
        Something about having to commute almost two miles to work by bicycle every day, I suspect.

        I wish my commute was only two miles; I'd be happy to ride a bike, then. Well, if here was a safe path to do so, because I'd be scared to ride it on the roads around here. And sidewalks are practically non-existent except near retail stores.

        However, my commute is 15 miles each way; even with optimum conditions I figure that would take me 2 hours (lots of hills) which would have me leaving home absurdly early in the morning and returning home about the time the kids go to bed.

        I would love to live closer to work, but I can't afford the houses there. We looked hard for something closer before settling for the house we're in now. I love the area we're in, but there's just no good (safe) place to ride bikes except up and down the 1/2 mile dead-end road we live on. It's better than a stationary bike, but it would be even better if we could actually go somewhere without having to pile into the car. The road we connect onto, I have crossed on foot twice, with a crosswalk and signals, and will never do so again short of an emergency (a red light does mean "stop" doesn't it? I always thought so).

        So, to sum up my confused rambling, sometimes you just don't have a reasonable alternative to using the car, even to go just a mile down the road.

      • by KermodeBear (738243) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:27PM (#23449564) Homepage

        Home-cooking and exercise.

        Exercise? Are you kidding me?

        Do you know what happens when I exercise? I burn calories - and that produces heat - which warms the earth! Exercising causes global warming!

        Do you know what else happens? I breathe in more oxygen... And I breathe out CO2, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming!

        If we can get everyone to do their part and not exercise, just think of the impact we can make!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lena_10326 (1100441)

      Weighing more makes us harder for the aliens to suck out of our cars
      I'm sure aliens have can openers.

  • Mixed Causes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhiestand (157373) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:06PM (#23448150) Journal
    Although it was quite funny, it's a straw man and the study itself has some serious flaws. Some people really do have serious glandular problems or diseases causing obesity. My cousin was a beautiful young woman until she developed lupus... she went from somewhere around 120 pounds to, well, I'm not going to speculate. I'm not sure what exactly caused the obesity, it could have been anything from hormonal changes to medications she had to take, but I know her house isn't exactly filled with twinkies. I feel terrible walking around with her in public. Not because I'm embarrassed to be with an obese woman, but because I get so upset at the looks people give us. People look at her like she just killed and ate their favorite pet, then they look at me with a slightly different look of disgust.

    In addition, I feel that while this may be accurate, we'd be pushing the environmentalism too far to cite it as a reason for people to lose weight. Even if it would save some energy, fuel, and materials, all of the savings are overshadowed by the significant social and medical advantages. If we could waste just a little more food and fuel to ensure a longer life expectancy, we would.

    Of course, this study isn't really very good. While the global demand for food would likely drop, you'd have a significant jump in energy and oil prices. All of the formerly obese Americans, spending hundreds less on food every month, would be ready to hit the beaches, ski slopes, etc. with their extra money and less embarrassing bodies.

    Finally, BMI is a shoddy system that I'm sick of seeing. BMI was developed at a time when leeching was an accepted medical practice, and hasn't changed significantly since then. BMI can not differentiate between lean mass and lard. This means that a society of body builders would have the same average BMI as a society of, well, lazy Americans.

    Getting back to serious topics, it's very important to note that global food shortages (and corresponding rises in prices) are not caused by increased demand. They're caused by reduced supply, which has been, in part, caused by food aid programs [inthesetimes.com]. When people become dependent on food aid programs, a small series of events can raise food prices enough that food aid programs can't afford to send food [cnn.com]. You can imagine how well this works out for impoverished areas that have lost their indigenous food production capability.
    • Re:Mixed Causes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:11PM (#23448188)

      Some people really do have serious glandular problems or diseases causing obesity
      ...and some people just like pies.
      • Re:Mixed Causes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by puck01 (207782) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:15PM (#23448714)

        Some people really do have serious glandular problems or diseases causing obesity
        ...and some people just like pies.
        ...and most people just like pies
      • Re:Mixed Causes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sentry21 (8183) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:41PM (#23448902) Journal
        I was at Dairy Queen the other day with my (underweight if anything) girlfriend, and we happened to see another family enjoying some sundaes. I'm no good at speculation, but two of them seemed to be in their mid-twenties or so, and probably weighed about two hundred and fifty pounds or so, by our estimation. The mother and father of the family were probably more than that, maybe three hundred and three fifty.

        They also had a little girl who looked a little on the chubby side, and were feeding her a giant sundae, as they all were eating.

        Maybe this family has some kind of genetic disorder, and they may as well eat ice cream because they're going to be that large anyway. Maybe this was the first time in a year that they've gone to Dairy Queen (it was for me, and it was the first REALLY nice day of the year).

        Still, I can't help but notice so many surprisingly large people out there on the streets, in the malls, at the food courts, and so on, and inevitably they're eating pizza, drinking coke, choking down a giant tub of popcorn with butter, and so on, and I can't help but think... these people either need self control, or need to realize that they have a problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by russotto (537200)

      Finally, BMI is a shoddy system that I'm sick of seeing. BMI was developed at a time when leeching was an accepted medical practice, and hasn't changed significantly since then.

      Leeching is STILL an accepted medical practice. They just use cleaner leeches now. BMI is still BS though.

      Getting back to serious topics, it's very important to note that global food shortages (and corresponding rises in prices) are not caused by increased demand.

      Right, they are caused by an unholy alliance of environmentalists

    • Re:Mixed Causes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GregPK (991973) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:16PM (#23448236)
      I agree with you. I've got a large build with a low body fat. Viking build I guess, anyways I fit into 36 inch pants comfortably. I'm 6 foot 2 and my weight is still down 25 lbs from high school body building days leaving me at 245 lbs. I'm considered obese in the eyes of the insurance companies even though I have a six pack for muscle. I have to go through this long ass appeal process and physical in order to prove how lean I am every year.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Oligonicella (659917)
        Same here. When I was running a stunt show, I had a physical. I sat there with my shirt off and the doctor in all seriousness told me I should lose 40 pounds. I looked down and asked "Where?" He was at a loss, of course. BMI is stupid.

        For rusotto above. The leeching he's referring to is where they use leeches to drain blood because there's too much, not to reduce specific swellings.
        • by Oktober Sunset (838224) <sdpage103@ y a h oo.co.uk> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:58PM (#23448574)
          BMI needs to be replaced by RWI or residual wobble index. In this, the doctor attaches accelerometers to your body and then rocks you from side to side and then measures how long your flabby belly continues to jiggle after he stops.
          • Re:Mixed Causes (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:19PM (#23448738) Homepage
            Another measure they use it to see if your waist is less than half of your height. If it is, then you are fine. If it is more than half your height, you are too fat.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              I can see this method being inaccurate for very short people.

              The most accurate test is PMR or Pie Merchant Response. In it, the subject aproaches a pie stall and an EEG is taken and compared to the EEG of the pie merchant looking at increasingly large heaps of money. Alternatly if the EEG matches the pie merchants reding when seeing images of unemployment offices, house repossessions and homeless people under a bridge, then the person is underweight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Although it was quite funny, it's a straw man and...


      unfortunately, according to the codified laws of debate, chapter 5, subsection 32, the charge of "straw man" is an applicable rhetorical device in any disagreement, except in the instance of arguing about a fat man. you will have to rephrase
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Getting back to serious topics, it's very important to note that global food shortages (and corresponding rises in prices) are not caused by increased demand...

      Not quite true. It is both increased demand and shorter supply. In particular, the growing middle class in both India and China are eating more meat. ( And it takes 2 to 4 pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken; about 10 pounds of grain to produce a pound of pork, and 15-20 pounds of grain to produce a pound of beef ) So they are increasing the demand for both grain and meat.
      The decrease in supply is due to several factors: Australia is in its 6th year of drought, Argentina has had floods, and A

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by no1home (1271260)
        Basically correct, but you left another relevant fact out: food prices are also going up due to increased energy costs. As for the decreased supply due to drought, flood, and other environment issues, that's not entirely correct. Rice, wheat, corn, and other staple crops were produced at record levels over the last year. Enough rice (or was it wheat, I don't remember) was produced in the most recent season to proved each living human about 700lbs. (I really wish I could find the article for proper citat
    • One word: Ethanol (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MacDork (560499) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @07:07PM (#23448646) Journal
      It's truly frightening that you could write five paragraphs and still overlook the reason for the recent food shortages.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NeuroManson (214835)
      I dunno how to tell you this, but they still use leeches today (for their anti coagulant properties). Not only that, but doctors use maggots too! Bugs are useful for lots of stuff. Bet you didn't know that silk used in surgery originally comes out of the butt of a caterpillar too.

      It's a joke. You're supposed to laugh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      the study itself has some serious flaws.

      When I'm training for a triathlon, I eat twice as much as anyone else I know. Added to that, the food I eat is more labor intensive than junk food, fresh organic stuff uses more resources per calorie than McDonald's and Hostess. A society of athletes would consume more food/resources than the couch potato society. Although there would be far fewer cars and many more bicycles.
    • I don't know who invented BMI but math wasn't his best subject. Humans are three dimensional so there should be a power of three in the BMI equation somewhere. There isn't, what we have is a quadric curve where the middle bit happens to fit middle size people.

      If you go outside the "medium" range it all falls apart, tall people come out as obese and short people come out as underweight.

      We need to scrap it an try again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crossmr (957846)

      This means that a society of body builders would have the same average BMI as a society of, well, lazy Americans.

      While true, its a bit of a misleading argument.
      It takes the focus off the lazy americans. Just because it can't distinguish between a competitive body builder and a fat guy, doesn't make the fat guy any more healthy, or any less fat. It doesn't take a genius to look at someone with a BMI of 35 and say "You're fat." If they can't tell the difference they need their eyes examined.

  • by OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:07PM (#23448164) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how many greenhouse gasses were released in the creation of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the webhosting of the LA Times (let alone creation and physical distribution of the papers), or why they accepted 2 million dollars [wikipedia.org] from the Rockefeller foundation [wikipedia.org]. We all know that John D Rockefeller [wikipedia.org] was very green while he was revolutionizing the petroleum industry and founding Standard Oil. Maybe while the school looks...

    To contribute to the improvement of health worldwide through the pursuit of excellence in research, postgraduate teaching and advanced training in national and international public health and tropical medicine, and through informing policy and practice in these areas.
    ...they should remember where they came from and why they have the buildings they do. Instead of spouting nonsense that will make less people want to visit, they should actually work on something that matters.
  • Not normal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:13PM (#23448206)

    Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food
    Experience and the Central Limit Theorem tell me that they are distributed normally.
  • Ooooh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:15PM (#23448222) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean I'm finally in a class that the government is going to throw money at?

    Oh, and I plan to live 20% fewer years than average, so it's really a 2% gain for the planet.

    -Peter
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:15PM (#23448230) Homepage
    Seems logical that obese people are disproportionately using up some resources. In the same way that professional racers are disproportionately using up carbon based fuels. I have seen really fat person it, and as a fatty myself, some scare me. But back to the story, seems like a logical corolation to me, very few obese people are fat and not eating much food.
    • On the Flip Side (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:38PM (#23448408) Homepage Journal
      But back to the story, seems like a logical corolation to me, very few obese people are fat and not eating much food.

      Yeah, but think about all the resources they're not:
      • Not buying new clothing every year to stay in fashion?
      • Not hotrodding on a Jet Ski at the lake?
      • Taking up and paying for two seats on the plane but only getting one skimpy rubbery meal?
      • Keeping the heat at 60 in the winter?
      • Not burning fuel to go to the movies because HBO is so much more comfortable?
      • Not flying in grapes from Chile to feed a winter-time vegetarian ethos when fried wheat do just fine?
      Hey, I'm not advocating it, but let's have a full accounting here. Oh, right, that's really hard and there's less opportunity to be priggish. Sort of like me not reading TFA.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:20PM (#23448266) Journal
    A skinny person with a really high metabolism can eat far more in a day than a fat person with a slow one. Plus, you only need to eat a lot to *get* fat - maintaining your weight doesn't require eating extra. Not to mention tall people, teenaged boys, people with very physical jobs, and many others who would all eat more than an average person.

    I'm not all pro-obesity or anything, but it's just silly to think that ALL obese people eat more than ALL average-weight people.

    • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:30PM (#23448352) Homepage

      A skinny person with a really high metabolism can eat far more in a day than a fat person with a slow one

      Yes. On rare occasions you meet such people. I've known an ex-New York City Ballet dancer like that. She's slim, hard-muscled, radiates heat, and has to eat almost constantly to keep her weight up. I know an endurance rider who's 6' tall, all leg, runs seven miles a day, and eats twice what I do when we have dinner together. She thinks 58F is a good indoor temperature.

      Such people are unusual. On the other hand, I've probably seen over fifty oinkers today, waddling around. And it's early yet.

      • by cozziewozzie (344246) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:59PM (#23448580)
        Not quite.

        Muscle uses a lot of energy. People with a muscular build NEED a lot more food than fat people, because fat doesn't consume energy, muscles do.

        Add to this the fact that muscular people probably got that muscle through regular exercise, which burns lots of energy too.

        Obesity is very often a case of bad diet (eating the wrong stuff) and non-balanced lifestyle (no exercise to match the food), and not simply eating too much. Athletes eat FAR more than your average fatty.
    • Gut Bacteria (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
      A skinny person with a really high metabolism

      There's current thinking that different varieties of gut bacteria play a huge role here. Apparently some types can metabolize more types of food than others. The trick is the higher caloric content generated doesn't properly feed back into the hunger satiety mechanism, so the average person with highly efficient bacteria will tend to gain weight.

      So, either fill up skinny people with more efficient bacteria and figure out how to deal with the hunger problem, or
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:24PM (#23448296)
    I am a fat man. I weight 370 pounds. (However, I am 6" 6' tall, but I'm still fat.) Now, this article does state that there are other factors. It names the skinny guy with the high metabolism on the 100 mile bike ride, but there is one factor (among many) that it doesn't consider. I live in a small apartment and drive a Honda Civic that gets 25MPG or better, even around town. (It gets 33 - 35MPG on the highway. All these fuel consumption figures are real measured figures that I've taken.) Lets look at my overall carbon output compared to the little 90 pound skinny woman driving her Chevy Suburban aggressively on her way home to her massive suburban McMansion, while talking on her cell phone no less. What's her carbon impact versus mine? How much more oil does it take to propel her massive SUV, especially when she's stomping on the gas with that big V8, then it does to propel my little 4 cylinder Civic? How much more oil does it take to heat and cool her massive house than my little apartment? I'd bet that we come out about the same, or that she might even end up producing more carbon than I do. There are so many factors that this article doesn't consider. All it really seems to do is give people an escape goat for global warming. Yes its all OK now, we can blame it on the fat people!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jlarocco (851450)

      That's definitely true. But, if you cut your weight in half, you would get even better gas milage than you already do. When you take that effect and multiply it by all the "overweight" people in the world, it adds up.

      Is dieting the best way to save fuel? Probably not. But being over weight does impact on fuel usage.

  • by Blackneto (516458) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:26PM (#23448324) Journal
    "It's a glandular problem!" Yeah, sure

    But as a "large" person, bite my flabby ass.

    not speaking for every fatass. But since I started working nights 10 years ago i've gained 150lbs.
    Funny thing is I'm still as active and eat basically the same amount that I always have.

    I've been big since puberty set in.
    In HS i was 5'9" and weighed 240lbs. As i was playing football at the time I don't think it was a lack of exercise. I don't know what my calorie intake was at the time but it couldn't have been that much since we weren't very well off but my dad made enough to keep us off welfare. Never any huge amount of junk food or fatty food. Mostly carbs though. beans, rice, pasta and chicken.

    In my 20's i reached my present height of 6ft. I was working construction and living in Brooklyn. I ate and drank pretty much whatever I wanted then but never got above 190.

    FF to my 40's and 10 years of night work, sleep apnea and other nonsense I weigh 340. I eat maybe 2 times a day. I don't really eat sweets. My diet is mostly the same it was when I was a kid though I drink a lot more.
    spent about 3 months writing down my food intake for the doctor I'm working with.
    He didn't see anything abnormal. I average about 1900 calories a day.
    I should be losing weight but I'm not. Possibilities include sleep deprivation, thyroid problem or diabetes (which i still test negative for even though both parents have adult onset)

    Sure there are people that don't control what they eat, don't exercise and are seriously fat in the way you describe.
    But I think there a lot of folks that due to different circumstances just can't maintain weight the way you or other people think they should.

    FWIW, my family of 6 has a food budget of 540 a month not including 160 budgeted for eating out. this is pretty low for our area. most people i know that make the same amount of money as i do spend twice as much with less people in the house.

    I don't have any figures about the amount of fuel we use. We have to have a minivan for all of us to go somewhere in one vehicle. And my personal vehicle is no gas miser. But I may only drive it 3000 miles a year. The minivan we've averaged about 9000mi/year since we bought it.
    Until hydrogen powered cars become more widespread though we won't be buying any new vehicles.
    I'm not wild about hybrids because i don't think batteries are any better for the environment than burning fuel.
    Converting Gas engines to run hydrogen I think is the best bet.

    I don't think our transportation impact is that great since we aren't running kids back and forth to activities every night and we have always made an effort to consolidate trips.

    and last but not least. I view people that hold stock with BMI calculations with the same derision as those that in the past believed in phrenology.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:27PM (#23448326) Journal
    Ah the new religion,
    Now combining the sudo sceince of global warming with a little good old fashion scapegoating.

    Speaking as a 5'8" guy weighing in at around 135 pounds, this sounds alful facist to me. Nobody would call me fat but replace global warmin with economic struggles and fat people with jew and our intelectual elite sound pretty much like Hitler did in the the late 1920s.

    Can we get back to real science before we completely destroy the world pretty please?
  • Makes sense (Score:4, Funny)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:33PM (#23448376) Homepage
    So Calista Flockhart was in fact just caring for the environment? Who knew.
  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:54PM (#23448544) Journal
    ... what about all the trim, muscular, athletic people? Think about it. If some guy runs, bikes, or goes to the gym a hour per day and lifts weights, isn't he eating more food, burning a lot more calories, and exhaling a lot more CO2 than a lazy s.o.b. sitting on his couch in a semi-vegetative state?

    When you see a really obese person, don't think of them as 'fat'. Think of them as mobile carbon sequestration units.
  • by taustin (171655) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @08:55PM (#23449386) Homepage Journal
    BMI does not take in to account a person's build, age, or even sex. According to the BMI quacks, a man and woman of the same height should be the same weight. That's not juts quackery, that's quackery that kills people. I have known people with a BMI that would come out as grossly obese, but had - measured - less than 5% body fat, because of a massively muscular build. The reason more Americans are overweight is because the definition of overweight keeps changing, more than anything else.

    I can't help but wonder if the "London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine," or at least these two quacks, are funded by pharmaceutical companies that are heavily in to the weight loss drug market.
  • by constantnormal (512494) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:10PM (#23449454)
    Soylent Green.

    It's the only way to deal with the explosive population growth of overweight people.
  • by magudas (688263) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:10PM (#23449456)
    A few other things in the U.S. could also be the cause of so much obesity. Take for instance MSG. Although it's said to be harmless, look outside the U.S. for studies on it's effects. Now go look in your cabinets for foods that contain it. Nearly all chips, any pre-prepared food mixes, nearly 50% of fast food, as well as restaurant chain food contain it. With that much of it, not just the occasional bit in, it's bound to have some adverse effects on our metabolism, as well as cause more food addiction. Look at how little many other countries use MSG(Mono Sodium Glutamate.) Another thing would be to look Corn Sugar usage. The use of real sugars, not processed modified corn sugars, are more easily digested and metabolized in the body, but we have corn subsidies to fill, so we all get Corn Sugar in everything that used to have sugar. Try to find anything but natural Maple syrup that uses Cane Sugar instead of Corn Sugar. I doubt you can. I cut out soda completely, and steer clear of Corn Sugar completely. I avoid MSG and pre-prepared foods that use it, and do my research before eating anywhere because you'd be surprised at MSG usage. Since then, and with a moderate workout plan, I've lost over 15% body fat and increased my muscle mass tremendously.
  • by zullnero (833754) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @10:39PM (#23449960) Homepage
    It has nothing to do with girth and body fat, and everything to do with actual dietary consumption and metabolism. A high energy person with a higher metabolism will eat a whole lot more food than one with a lower metabolism. Just because a person is overweight doesn't necessarily mean that the person eats more than one meal a day...they simply tend to store fat more efficiently than someone who burns through it inefficiently.

    You also have to take into account the effects of the actual diet...if a person is overweight from a diet of mostly bread products, vs. a person overweight from eating a lot of pizza, bacon, etc., the latter person's diet would contribute greater to global warming as a result of the length of the food chain and resulting pollution it takes to produce meat vs. wheat products, etc. And a skinny person with a high metabolism, they'd be the absolute worst of all. They'd eat and eat, and wastefully lose their calories instead of carrying them around and prolonging the next meal.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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